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‘Love Sonia has stayed with me for 10 years’: Freida Pinto 

One of India’s most famous exports, Freida Pinto walks in 40 minutes late for this interview. She apologises profusely because she has just landed at an unearthly hour from a foreign destination and is obviously sleep-deprived. Without wasting any further time, she delves straight into shop talk about Tabrez Noorani’s Love Sonia (an upcoming drama on human trafficking) and her other projects in the West.

Tell us about your involvement with Love Sonia.
Love Sonia has stayed with me for 10 years. Tabrez was a producer on Slumdog Millionaire (2008). While working on that film, he was writing this movie and told me that he was keen to direct it. Later, he asked me to read the script. Once I did, I was extremely disturbed by the subject. It was an important story and I wanted to be a part of it. I assured him that whether it was helping him cast actors or anything else, I would be actively involved. It took us a decade to get the right people as it’s difficult to find financiers for such films. When the project came together, he recalled how from 2008 onwards, I had read other actress’ parts and particularly enjoyed reading Rashmi’s lines. I loved the character’s complexity and craziness as well as the fact that she was unpredictable. He asked me if I’d like to portray her on screen. I told him my name was written all over it (laughs).

How did you manage to keep the interest alive in the subject for such a long time?
A lot of people think that when you make such a movie, it must be depressing. I can’t speak for Mrunal (Thakur), her role is a lot more intense. But Richa (Chadha), Manoj (Bajpayee), Raj (Rajkummar Rao) and I had a blast while shooting. Yes, there are scenes that are dark and disturbing, but as soon as we finished filming it, we knew why we were making Love Sonia. We wanted people with determined minds to be part of the movement that puts an end to this brutality. As for keeping my interest alive in this film for 10 years, Tabrez is a dear friend of mine. We live about 15 minutes apart from each other in Los Angeles. He and I would talk about this film and many other projects, we’re working on a bunch of things about which I can’t reveal anything more yet.

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